The United States has denied allegations leveled by the Director, Strategic Communications of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 Campaign, Festus Keyamo (SAN), that its ambassador Stuart Symington was partial and sympathetic to the opposition with regards to the 2019 presidential polls.
US reaction: The US ambassador said on Wednesday that the United States remains apolitical and neutral in Nigeria’s elections, with no plans to interfere unnecessarily. He further explained that the US does not support People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar or any other candidate as insinuated by Keyamo.
“We support a level playing field and the democratic process. That is the bedrock principle of our Government’s advocacy on democratic elections. In the final run-up to the Feb. 16 vote, fake news and rumors are operating in overdrive. But it must be repeated: we are not taking sides,” he said.
While making reference to the success of the 2015 elections, Symington said that even though the elections belongs to Nigeria and Nigerians, its coordination and end results have an impact on international communities.
“This election is Nigeria’s, but it is also important for Nigeria’s neighbors and for the world. Nigeria has long played a great leadership role in the region and beyond as a force for democratic stability. The credible electoral results of 2015 empowered Nigeria to play that role. The United States looks forward to a similar result this week.”
Allegations from the APC Camp: Ahead of Saturday’s polls, Keyamo in his accusatory letter had said, “We take the view that the constant statements by Ambassador Symington and the other diplomats are implicit attacks against the government of Nigeria. These statements imply the Nigerian government is inclined to rig the election in favor of President Muhammadu Buhari. He is in great error. From all of the information at our disposal, President Buhari can and should win a free and fair election.”
Kaduna state governor, Nasir el-Rufai, had also made a similar comment which has been very controversial. He said,that members of the international community who interfere in the elections, would return back in body bags.